Local News

Theater Records Show Parton Spent Money on Alcohol, Vegas Shows

Posted December 6, 2007 3:32 p.m. EST
Updated December 6, 2007 9:19 p.m. EST

— City officials released financial records Thursday showing how Randy Parton spent part of his $3 million reserve fund, which taxpayers supplied for the Randy Parton Theatre.

Records show some of the money was used to buy alcohol, pay rent on an apartment and purchase tickets to Las Vegas shows. City officials said they frown upon any charges that did not relate to the operation of the theater.

Parton spent just under $2.5 million of the $3 million fund. Officials have only released records showing how he spent the first $254,000 of that money.

On July 17, 2006, Parton spent nearly $1,500 on Cirque du Soleil shows, which are marked as "training." Multiple hotels, restaurants and liquor stores are also noted in the financial records.

On Oct. 2, 2006, more than $2,400 was spent at the Belvedere Hotel in New York. A little more than $600 was spent at various liquor stores, including in New York, Las Vegas, Halifax County, Chowan County and Hertford.

Another $600 was spent on "partial rent" for an apartment.

Neither Parton nor his attorney made any public comments about the financial records Thursday.

Parton was recently replaced as general manager of the theater after it was troubled by lower-than-projected attendance and revenue numbers. The theater cost Roanoke Rapids $21.5 million in loans.

Boston-based UGL Unicco announced last week that it hired Rick Reno, the chief executive officer for the Crown Center in Cumberland County. A Louisiana native, Reno managed the opening of the Superdome in 1975 and has spent over 35 years in theater management.

Parton – the brother of country music legend Dolly Parton – both headlined and managed his namesake theater when it opened.

But attendance came in below projections of 300,000 for the first year (city officials have not released specific numbers), and on Nov. 20, the city council voted to rewrite the original contract and bring in a new management group.

The new contract engaged Parton to perform up to 36 times annually for a five-year period, but did not require a minimum amount of shows by him.

His annual salary was slashed from $1.5 million to $250,000, with a guaranteed payout of $1 million even if the theater closes before the contract expires.

Roanoke Rapids assumed a $475,000 debt Parton owed and banned him from accessing more than $500,000 remaining in his $3 million reserve fund. Councilman Jon Baker estimated the city will end up eating about $2 million on the contract.

The city will pay Unicco about $600,000 for the first year of a two-year contract.